Find Time to Exercise as a Single Mom (or Dad)

Grab a Timer & Let the Fun Begin!

As a single mom, you really can find time to exercise—even when your schedule is hectic. One of the secrets to making it happen is involving your kids, so that finding the time to exercise doesn't have to mean hiring a babysitter. Plus, the benefits of regular exercise—like warding off depression and helping you get a better night’s sleep—can be particularly helpful in maintaining the stamina you need to raise your family as a single parent. Start with the following exercises, and make it fun by having your kids use a stopwatch or timer to keep track of your time.

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Stretch and warm up.

Mom warming up before exercise.
Find time to exercise at home. Photo © Georgijevic/Getty Images

Give your body several minutes to warm up. Begin with some simple stretches, and move into a slow jog (in place).

For tips, watch our Simple Exercise Warm-up video.

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Do push-ups.

Woman doing a push up.
Use proper form when doing push ups. Photo © JGI/Tom Grill/Getty Images

In the beginning, you'll probably want to do push-ups with your knees resting on the ground. As you get stronger, though, you can begin to do them up on your toes. See how many push-ups you can do in 60 seconds.

Not sure how? Watch this video on How to Do a Proper Army Push-up.

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Do full sit-ups.

A woman doing sit-ups.
Use proper form when doing sit-ups. Photo © tBoyan/Getty Images

Do as many full, complete sit ups as you can in 60 seconds. You may find it helpful, too, to have one of your kids stand on your feet while you do this exercise.

To learn how, watch the video How to Do a Proper Army Sit-Up.

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Do squats.

Woman doing lunge exercises.
Build strength with lunge exercises. Photo © G&J Fey/Getty Images

See how many squats you can do in 60 seconds. As you work, make sure that your knees do not extend beyond your toes.

Watch Lower Body Toning With Lunges and Squats to learn more.

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Do biceps curls.

Woman doing biceps curls.
Build upper arm strength with biceps curls. Photo © KidStock/Getty Images

See how many biceps curls you can do in 60 seconds. If you don't have light weights available, use a pair of soup cans, instead.

Read How to Do Biceps Curls to learn more.

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Do triceps curls.

Woman doing arm exercises.
Learn how to exercise tricep muscles. Photo © Daniel Grill/Getty Images

See how many triceps curls you can do in 60 seconds. Again, try using a soup can as your weight, if needed.

Watch How to Strengthen and Tone Your Triceps to learn the proper form,

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Do ab crunches.

Woman doing abdominal crunches.
Trim your waist with abdominal crunches. Photo © Hero Images/Getty Images

See how many ab crunches you can do in 60 seconds. Again, you may want to have your kids stand on your feet for stability.

Watch Ab Workouts for Runners to see a variety of abdominal exercises.

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Create Your Own Routine

Mom exercising with baby
Find time to exercise anywhere. Photo ©Credit: JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Ideally, you'll want to cycle through all of these exercises at least twice. As you get stronger you can do them up to three times, and even extend the length of each exercise to 90 seconds.

In addition, see if you can’t find time to exercise after work by taking a a long walk or jog once or twice a week. If you can bring the kids along, even better! Or, if that would be impractical due to your kids’ ages, try taking your children to a local park that’s situated near a hill, and jog or walk up and down the hill for ten minutes while they play. Once you begin to think creatively about how to find time for exercise, you'll see that fitting fitness into your busy lifestyle is doable—and fun. With time, the benefits of regular exercise will begin to become their own source of motivation, too.